China: What I will miss

Skyler is doing well. A month after his release from the hospital he's gained weight and energy and feels good. He's educated himself about diabetes 1 and controls his diet carefully.  He says he does not mind the four injections a day, and now it's a family thing with Xing Xing taking part, applying the alcohol swab to his tummy while the rest of us wait to eat until they're done.  Well, usually.

Yue Li's government pension from the years she worked as an acrobat helps to pay for his medications and care.  He is playing basketball with his friends and walking most days (in addition to the miles we do just to get around) for hours sometimes, exploring the city. 

Xiao Yang, or little Guy, went from womb to front pack, where he stays a good part of the day. Yue Li   is up and out of the house early, taking taxi, bus or light rail to the market where she buys clothes in bulk and sends them out to her various stores in the city.

From there she goes either to her main store, where she may spend the day, or, off to check on her others.  If baby is not in the front pack, he's carried about by employees, other shop owners, Yue Li's dad, me, or any number of other people.

Yue Li is not a typical Chinese mom.  She receives constant commentary/criticism from older women for taking baby out of the apartment before he was one month old, using the front pack, not putting hats or socks on him, and numerous other motherings she does differently.  She smiles and nods and both of us took to lying about his age when asked how old he was before he was 30 days trying to avoid the uncensored lectures about how to mother from perfect strangers.  

Here I watched baby a couple of hours while Yue Li had an appointment at the bank, and was trying to keep his feet covered as I had several women tell me, quite indignantly, about how he needed to be covered up. One of them was the street sweeper who I finally had to run away from, she kept following me around giving me grandparenting tips, I'm assuming, as I don't understand a thing.

Of course, all the moms get advice, and it comes from the very strong communal feeling the Chinese have toward the children. Children are highly valued, and family units strong.  Rarely can I look around without seeing evidence of a family working together on helping one another out. Here in our apartment's common grounds the grandparents blow bubbles for their twin gk. 

I'll miss seeing the Yangzte River, (or the Changjiang/Long River Sky says is the proper name)  this view from our third apartment in two months.   The Yahntzee and the Jialing rivers intersect in Chongqing and wherever I go I'm crossing one, or both of them, sometimes many times throughout the day.  The bridges are spectacular and a subject all of their own.

The South Mountains, from our apartments.  Chongqing is surrounded by mountains, and the weather from Tibet rolls across the plateaus and into the province bringing heavy fog most days.  Chongqing has been known as The Foggy City since long ago, and when the sky actually shows blue and the sun shines directly down, Chongqiners shield their eyes, put up sun umbrellas, and otherwise do what they can to away from it!

I wil never photograph nor describe the architecture in any way that comes close to doing it justice.  These two light colored high-rises off the Yahnzee river here are metallic gold and shine and sparkle on the rare occasions the sun does make an appearance.

I'm not going to say I'll miss sharing my computer.  She had no problem moving from my iPhone to the mac. 

My last day with Xing Xing before her grandpa and grandma took her off to their mountain apartment for the summer.  Much cooler than CQ, and all the relatives have places so they can visit throughout July and August.  Xing Xing looks forward to seeing her cousins and little friends she's made there, taking walks through the bamboo and pine forests, and dancing with the "old people"  every night in the small town's plaza.  Sky and Yue Li try to join them every other weekend.

One of Yue Li's shop neighbors, a woman who sells items from Tibet, gifts Xing Xing and I with matching necklaces of jade. 

Before she leaves we show grandpa how we have matching fingernail polish...

Very similar shoes... (which we have "kick-off" competitions with to see how high we can kick them into the air)

And twin jade necklaces.


  1. this is so sweet, maggie, you and your granddaughter, and growing up together. how wonderful.

  2. hey momma, great posts! love reading them.

    however there are some mistakes

    1) it's the Yangzte River (Or's proper name, which translates into Long River)
    2) the Yellow river actually runs parallel to the Yangzte, about 1000km north of Chongqing, and doesn't intersect with the Yangzte. There is another major river, the Jialing, that connects with the Yangzte and forms the peninsula that is CQ.